PELHAM, N.H. - Two New Hampshire parents mourning the loss of their teenage son to a drug overdose are raising funds to open a sober living home in his honor.
John "Bubba" Carter died at just 18 years old after overdosing on a mixture of cocaine and fentanyl.
Bubba had been battling addiction since he was 13. When he entered rehab for the third and final time in March, his family prayed he would stay clean. Bubba later relapsed in May and died on July 16.
Because Bubba's biggest struggle had been maintaining his sobriety beyond 30 days after rehab, his parents Sheryl Mercier and Jack Carter, decided to open a sober house in his honor.
"I truly believe, if he would've went though that sober living, he would've went further," Mercier said. "His death was for a reason, and this was the reason."
"Bubba's Home," as his family has named it, will serve men aged 18 to 25, in need of help maintaining their sobriety and transitioning into regular life. Mercier and Carter hope to buy the house in order to keep costs for clients low.
They want to open the facility, with 18 to 20 rooms, in the Pelham, N.H., area, where Bubba is from, and where such resources are scarce, Mercier said.
"There's not a day that goes by that I don't think, 'What if I could've done this? What if I had done that? How could I have made this different?" Carter said. "We don't want any more families to go through this. Nobody else has to die."
Mercier is a Lowell police detective and knows all sides of the opioid epidemic.
"It was heartbreaking," Mercier said. "I was fighting it here at work, and then I was fighting it here at home."
Carter himself has been clean of drugs and alcohol for 25 years.
"I always thought he'd be just like me," Carter said. "That one day, he'd just get it, and he'd say, 'This is not what I want to do with my life.'"
Local businesses have been pitching in, raising $25,000, and more fundraisers are being planned for after the holidays.
To donate to Bubba's Home, go to www.bubbashomefoundation.org.
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